10 Ways To Be Happy At Work
October 28, 2019
Just like how great milk comes from happy cows, and how happy cows come from California, great results come from happy employees and happy employees come from a happy work environment. Happiness in the workplace shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be mandatory. Happy workers have higher success rates, they boost morale in the office, and have reduced stress levels that prevent them from burning out.
1. Focus On Professional Development
Whether or not your company has a professional/employee development program, you can focus on bettering yourself. Learning how to use a certain program will benefit you, for example if you learn how to use a certain accounting software, that’s now a skill you can take with you anywhere. If you have a manager you look up to or would like to emulate, getting close with them and asking them how they manage would be a free way to get leadership training. If you have the option to take part in an employee development program, take the opportunity, the skills and knowledge gained will help you in more than just the workplace. Viewing work as a way to grow instead of a laborious task that you need to do to get paid, will take away the negative views you have and you’ll be able to work happily towards a goal.
2. Change Your Mindset
A bit of a broader perspective on the last tip, but if you change the way you view things, everything can be seen through a new perspective. Tasks such as repetitive data entry can be seen as an opportunity to level up your typing skills. Any task can be viewed as a way to prove yourself, which gives you a new spin on it. Your outlook on life is a powerful tool, if all you want to see are reasons things suck, that’s all you’ll see. Avoiding negativity in the office is helpful in this step, being positive will only get you so far if you decide to hang around people who are always negative.
3. Separate Your Personal And Professional Lives
It’s important that you separate your professional life from your personal one. This means not walking into work with all the emotional baggage from your personal life. Learn to leave those at the door of the office. Being emotionally compromised, especially if you’re in charge of others could lead to poor decision making and have negative effects in the office.
On the same note, it’s just as important to leave your work in the office and not take it home with you. Constantly overworking yourself and adding “just one more task” when you get home will lead to habitually doing it. This takes away from the time you need to decompress from work. As much as you say you can keep working several hours straight, you can’t, burn out will eventually set in and then you have a bigger problem than before.
When at work, focus solely on work. When you clock out you can focus on all of your personal matters.
4. Manage Your Workload Properly
Staying organized and being able to see how much progress you make is one way to stay happy and destress in the office.
You should write down all the tasks you need to complete in the office. Make sure you label which ones drain your energy and make you lose your drive, as well as, marking which tasks make you focus and work harder. Find an order to do these tasks that allows you to keep working throughout the day. This will take trial and error unless you get it right the first time. Eventually you’ll find a method that lets you work for longer periods of time without feeling exhausted or bored.
If you’re constantly fighting to finish deadlines due to excessive amounts of work, you should learn to say “no” when offered additional tasks. Saying “yes” all the time is okay if you have spare time, but adding additional tasks when you’re already bogged down with work will just add to your stress levels.
5. Make Friends
It might seem elementary to suggest making friends but humans are social creatures. Social interaction actually affects our psychological and physical well being. In a study done on college freshmen, social support was a key factor in reducing depression and stress in people with self-confidence and those without it. Having friends in the office boosts your mood and being in a better mood actually makes you work better. If you can’t make friends at least find someone to eat lunch/dinner with. Just being around other people can boost your mood, granted the people you’re with should be cheerful and not negative. You spend a major part of your life at work, don’t spend it isolated while there are so many people there.
6. Take Breaks
It’s important to take the breaks given to you. Working non stop for hours on end isn’t good for you. Taking time to stand up and do something other than work will often give you a new perspective on the work you were doing. If your eyes are tired from looking at a computer screen, stand up and walk around for a bit and rest your eyes. Resting your eyes means you don’t pull out your phone and start checking your social media accounts. Repetitive tasks will wear you down, if applicable, go outside for your break and get some sun. Sometimes your workload will seem impossible, in those moments, take a breather and come back refreshed and ready to work again.
7. Take A Step Back
Like in the previous tip, sometimes your workload will be more complex than before and taking a quick break won’t fix this. In these moments take a step back and remind yourself why you took the job in the first place and how it’s going to help you reach your goals. We get so bogged down in the little day to day details that we lose sight of why we do certain things, sometimes all it takes is a reminder of “the why”, and we’re ready to get back to work. It’s okay to take some time and reflect on what motivates you and realign yourself. A short break is worth it if you can come back and work more efficiently as opposed to just dragging your feet the entire day.
8. Create A Good Workspace
You spend a sizable chunk of your life at a desk, customize it to fit you better. Desks are given to employees in a default layout, while this layout changes from company to company, they are always in a uniform layout meant to cater to the general workforce. Customizing it to help you work better makes a world of difference, especially if you don’t like the original set up. If it’s possible, request for items that will improve the quality of your life at work, if not, go out and get them yourself, think of it as an investment and if you ever leave that job, you have the added bonus of being able to take them with you. Things like ergonomic keyboards, mice, a wrist rest, and if possible a chair can all be replaced relatively easily. If you work in an office, chances are most of that time is spent split between sitting while having your hands on your keyboard or your mouse, having something that is easy to use and won’t cause pain in the long run is worth the money.
On the same note as making your desk more fit for you, decorate it. Maybe you have some cat picture that makes you laugh whenever you see it. Put that on your desk and when you’re stressed out take a quick breather and look at it. Decorating your desk with little bits and bobs might seem like a small task but if it improves your mood while at work and makes you feel comfortable, it’ll pay off in the long run.
9. Treat Yourself
This tip keeps you happy at work but can be done in or out of the office. Treating yourself could involve going out with friends, watching a movie, doing something you enjoy, spoiling yourself for the day, etc. It just has to break the monotony of work, any activity that would disrupt your usual routine counts. Retail therapy, or buying things to make yourself feel better, can help if done in a controlled manner that doesn’t involve you spending your entire life savings. Just a note, spending money on experiences, such as going to a new country or a simple outing with friends in the city has a much higher impact on happiness when compared to the fleeting dopamine rush of purchasing items for ourselves.
You don’t need some big event to treat yourself either, you could just be feeling down on a particular day and need a pick-me-up. Obviously it’s healthier to do something big for big achievements, but if you want to take a trip after work because you finished a task, go for it.
10. Enjoy The Little Things
There’s a character named Tallahassee in the movie “Zombieland” and one of his tips for surviving the apocalypse is enjoying the little things. Although “Zombieland” is a work of fiction, the tip holds true for staying happy. Everytime you complete a task, or start a project that you’ve been putting off, or if your Skype suddenly functions properly after weeks acting funny, count this as a small win. If you took all the little wins that happen daily, you’d amass quite a lot of wins. You can actually see how much you’ve progressed if you take note of all of your small wins. Being able to see small wins is a habit you should get into, it will drastically improve your mood and it might even make you an optimist if you do it for long enough.
***Updated on June 25, 2021